Staying Under God's Umbrella of Grace
- Friday, August 06, 2010
As a former school teacher and school counselor, I have many wonderful memories of the first day of school. One particular scenario that brings a smile to my face is the kindergartner who stopped me in the hallway on his first day of school. Carrying a backpack longer than his body, he tapped me on the arm, reached up and whispered, "I am not sure that I have the right teacher." I smiled as he told me why. "My mom said that teachers are only nice after Christmas, but my teacher is smiling and it's only August."
Just like this little boy, I have often believed that I might have the "wrong" thing in my life when what I have been told does not match with what I can see. I often question God just as the little boy questioned me.
One such time came on the first day of my last year in education. I had new clothes, new make up, new day timer pages and a clean desk. I also had a new year in which I could start each day with prayer and this year would be no exception. I read my Bible, prayed, and asked God to help me be the best School Counselor that any Christian can be in the public school setting. After my prayer, I grabbed my briefcase and headed for the car.
The first day of school usually brought a spring to my step as I anticipated the adventures of a new year. This morning, however, seemed different. As I pulled out of the driveway and headed toward the school, I clearly heard God speak: "You are not to go back to school this year."
Immediately, I began to laugh. After all, there were bills to be paid and being newly married, I had to let my husband know that I would carry my end of the weight. Perhaps this was just my head reminding me that there would be no more days of "freedom" until next June.
When I arrived at school, I felt a heaviness and lack of enthusiasm. Believing that I must be tired from preparing for the new year, I trudged on and greeted the children with a smile. As the days rolled into months, however, my heaviness became greater and so did the problems that I faced on my job.
One particular school day stands out in my mind. I arrived at my office at the usual time and had not even unlocked my office door when I was approached by our school secretary. "Shannon, there has been a murder. The parents of two of our students have been killed, and we need for you to make sure that CPS has the children in custody."
Suddenly I went from greeting children in the hallway to needing a badge and a gun! I drove to the murder scene and made sure that our children were safe. As I left the scene, I specifically remember almost running over the blue glove of one of the coroners that was laying on the sidewalk.
"Just another day at the office" I thought. Many would be shocked at the things Educators deal with on a "typical" day.
Upon arriving back to school from the murder scene, I answered the phone that was ringing on my desk. A hysterical mother claiming her ex-husband had kidnapped her daughter and needing help finding her child screamed on the other end of the line. I talked her through the hysteria so that we could get to a place of reason, then turned it over to the authorities.
"Surely this is the end of crazy for one day," I thought.
No sooner had I completed that thought than the school secretary was back at my office door.
"Shannon, we need for you to go to the gym immediately. There is a dad in there who is angry that his child was accidentally hit in the eye by a jump rope yesterday. He has our principal pinned against the wall swinging a jump rope at her, and he has destroyed the gym. The children have been removed, but we need for you to stand in there with her until the police arrive."
Now, I know what you must be thinking by now. What kind of school is this? May I tell you that it is a very nice school district, but undoubtedly, several of our families were having a VERY bad day that day.
After my more than exhausting day, I went home, flopped on the couch and tried to forget the events of the day. I was able to keep my composure until my husband came home, looked at me with exhaustion and said, "I have had a very bad day." He then went on to tell me about his "very bad day."
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